Primary care eConsult service can be used in a variety of ways: interim care, medication adjustments, new diagnosis, EKG readings, and more. eConsult services are easy for primary care providers (PCPs) and their patients to access specialty care. PCPs across the country are using eConsult solutions as a practical telehealth resource to improve access, quality, outcomes, and satisfaction–all while reducing patient out-of-pocket costs.
eConsult platforms, such as AristaMD’s eConsult platform, allow primary care providers (PCPs) to obtain care planning advice and treatment recommendations from specialists in >70 specialty areas within 24 hours, and over 50% responded within 6.
As “curbside” consults are no longer viable due to liability, eConsult services provide PCPs with access to expert advice within a significantly simpler workflow. Rather than waiting on the phone or being pulled out of a room for a return call, the eConsult workflow seamlessly integrates into the referral process, and specialist information is available quickly and when expected.
eConsults have even been effective in more complex specialties such as Hematology & Rheumatology. AristaMD eConsults always include necessary diagnostics, recent visit notes, and images according to our workup checklists, allowing specialists to provide meaningful, actionable input allowing treatment at the primary care level in over 70% of submitted cases, eliminating the need for a specialist visit.
Ways to Use a Primary Care eConsult Service:
1. Interim Care Planning
Offer interim care planning advice while patients are waiting to be seen by their specialist using a primary care eConsult service.
eConsults can be a valuable tool even in the case where patients will be seeing a specialist face-to-face by providing advice on:
- Medication dosage adjustments before the specialist visit
- Management of symptoms while the patient is awaiting a specialist appointment
- Diagnostics beneficial before the specialist visit
2. Non-emergent EKG readings
Our cardiology specialists can assist with EKG interpretation and provide recommendations within 24 hours.
3. Validation of Treatment Plan
Providers can validate their proposed treatment plan with a specialist, allowing them to treat their patients with the confidence of having specialist input and recommendations.
4. Confirm an In-person Referral is Needed
The necessity of referral is often questionable. With eConsults, providers can now validate the need to refer patients within 24 hours, avoiding unnecessary patient referrals.
5. Ask Treatment Questions
- What kind of medication can I use that I haven’t tried?
- Is there a combination therapy appropriate for this issue?
- What diagnostics do I need? What kind of splint should I use?
6. ER Follow-up Recommendations
Many times they can manage the patient’s follow-up care in the primary care office without needing additional specialist visits.
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7. Specialized Workup Recommendations for Specific Conditions (i.e. Rheumatology or Hematology)
Workups for specific conditions can be complex, eConsults allow for specialist input in workups to ensure the most appropriate workup is completed, especially in the case the patient will need to see a specialist. Incomplete workups can cause additional unnecessary specialist visits, which increases the time to treatment and decreases patient satisfaction.
8. Recommendations when Patients Cannot See a Specialist (i.e. Insurance Denial, Specialist Refuses Visit, Lack of Transportation)
It’s common for underserved patient populations to be uninsured or underinsured, significantly decreasing their likelihood of obtaining specialty care. eConsults allow PCPs to provide these patients with the best treatment possible. Our specialists can recommend the best management when seeing a specialist may be the best treatment path but is unavailable.
We all know the prevalence of no-shows at the primary care level. No-show rates at specialty clinics are on-par or worse than those in primary care. In a study done with one of our clients, 70% of the Ortho referrals sent out for in-person specialist visits never made it! They were either denied, never showed up, or lost somewhere in the referral process.